SOS: Garden Warfare and a Nice Surprise

Yes, I’m now convinced my garden is a war zone: Me against nature. There is not a week goes by without some new bug or disease attacking my plants.

I also woke up to rain this morning the first proper rain since November.

My gardening activities this week are once again directed from my garden armchair as the OH runs around trying to follow instructions to keep plants fed and watered, plus continue to wage war on the bugs and diseases that beset my little plot in paradise.

1. Blackbirds are Having a Feast!

My forced inactivity also gave me the opportunity to remain still and observe blackbirds (Mr. & Mrs) feasting on berries courtesy of a small palm tree (Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis) growing just  a  meter from my chair. The Mediterranean Fan Palm is apparently the only Portuguese native palm.

Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis
Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis
Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis
Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis


2. Black Discoloration on My Prized Euphorbia Lactea White Ghost

My Six on Saturday would not be complete without sharing my latest casualty. I was hopping past this plant when I stopped in my tracks! OMG what’s happening?

Discoloration Euphorbia Lactea White Ghost
Discoloration Euphorbia Lactea White Ghost
Black Discoloration Euphorbia Lactea White Ghost
Black Discoloration Euphorbia Lactea White Ghost

I asked a succulent group on FB and someone suggest I use Cal-Mag he thought my Euphorbia had a fungal or viral infection from nutrient deficiency which the Cal Mag may help. (Calcium +Magnesium). Hopefully a local farmers co-op will sell it.
Other suggestions included treating with Apple cider vinegar:
“Dilute one tablespoon of vinegar in one gallon of water and use to treat fungal infection on any type of plant. It can also help treat black spot on roses.

Another suggestion was to use baking soda which can be used as a fungicide spray.
“Mix one tablespoon of soda with two and a half tablespoons of vegetable oil and add to a gallon of water. Shake the mixture well and add to it one half teaspoon of castile soap. Shake the spray bottle regularly while you are using it to keep the ingredients together. They tend to separate out. When using this spray to treat powdery mildew, first spray down the affected leaves with water. This can help to loosen up spores. You can also use the baking soda spray to treat early tomato blight, leaf blight, and anthracnose.”

What is baking soda? Is that bicarbonate of soda? And what is castile soap?
Has anyone tried either of the above and were they successful?

3. Pot Cover – Work in Progress

I happen to mention to my OH, that I wanted a cover to disguise the large plastic bucket I want to plant my (yet to be purchased) lemon tree in. There’s been a lot of hammering, sawing and banging going on in the garage over the last week so as curiosity was getting the better of me he took a photograph of his work in progress.


Pot cover upcycled from pallets
Pot cover upcycled from pallets

Each pallet was stripped. cut and sanded down and finally upcycled into a plant pot cover. It still needs to be painted black but even in in its rustic state I am IMPRESSED! What a sovely surprise!

4. Seeds – A seed in the hand is worth…

I had not intended to buy seeds but we’ve learned if you see it buy it. The OH  shopping in Lidls while I waited at a local cafe, found a huge display of seeds and not knowing what to buy gave me a call. Off the top of my head I could only think of a few things I wanted but at least something is better than nothing!


5. Parodia leninghausii (Yellow Tower) Cacti in Flower

This is the first time this little cacti has flowered. I knew it did not like direct sunlight but what I did not realise is that it grows up to 1m tall. It has already outgrown the pot so once it’s finished flower and the weather is warmer I will repot.


Parodia leninghausii (Yellow Tower) Cacti in Flower
Parodia leninghausii (Yellow Tower) Cacti in Flower

For more information check out

6. Organic Traps for Slugs and Snails

After reading some tips on discouraging slugs from feasting on my plants by using beer I set some of my own traps. 10 days later, ever the optimist I asked the OH to check the traps to see if any snails or slugs had been tempted. Nothing.

I discussed this at our newly formed local gardening group and was informed the beer I had used was in actual fact lager. A kindly soul suggested I use yeast and barley as the slugs/snails are drawn by the smell of yeast and duly delivered some barley later that day.

That’s my six for this week, fellow gardeners. As usual I’ll be along later to read all your posts over at the Propagator’s Blog.




36 thoughts on “SOS: Garden Warfare and a Nice Surprise

Add yours

  1. I love your new pot cover. It shows a lot of love. I have been known to rehome my snails. 500 plus were moved to new green pastures about three years ago. It seems to have worked. They have not returned!


  2. #4 and #6 are not opening for me. That’s okay. I lack good signal here.
    I do not think that those euphorbs are easy to grow without some degree of black spot. Variegated cultivars are more susceptible than green (unvariegated) cultivars are, so I would suspect that the white cultivar would be even more susceptible. I thought that it was fungal rot, but I really never identified it. I do believe that they prefer to get a bit dry between watering, and that the stems prefer minimal humidity. Fungal pathogens proliferate with humidity.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, that is a good reason for them not opening.
        Those euphorbs rot even here in our chaparral climate. For us, it was more the result of the so-called ‘gardeners’ giving them too much water and soaking the soil.


  3. I love the re-use of the pallets – what a delightful cover for your bucket! Like Ark, I love it as it is.
    That cactus flower is gorgeous!
    I hope you are recovering well and that you’ll soon be out there enjoying your garden close-up again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, mbt. I’m now wondering if we should leave it natural rather than paint it black. A decision perhaps better made when I can see it in situ. I’ve already decided to make a mosaic gecho to stick on it.

      Yep recovery is low and frustration levels are gaining momentum

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love the sound of a mosaic gecko! I’ve had two now hips and recovery takes its time but now I feel fabulous! It was worth doing all the exercises religiously! All the best with your recovery. I’m sure you’ll get there! 🙂


  4. How brilliant to produce Windsor planters from pallets! It is interesting to see that your blackbirds are guzzling your palm fruits while mine are successfully stripping the crab apples. How old is the palm and does it produce fruit every year?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realise the planters had a name. So yes, a windsor planter without a base. 🙂

      Yes, the palm produces yellow flowers which turn into fruit every year. There is another palm in flower now. I better get the OH to take a photograph for posterity. 🙂 that palm is about 6 years old and was just a baby when I bought it. (about 2ft) I

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the cover for the pot. Maybe you could mosaic it!
    Stunning flower on your cactus. I do love cacti flowers, I think partly because they don’t flower often, so it’s really special when they do.
    I’ve never seen a Euphorbia Lactea White Ghost before, it’s amazing. I hope you can get rid of the problem quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I may mosaic a little gecko and stick it to one of the panels… hmmm hood idea FF 🙂

      I think it is the flowers that got me hooked on cacti and succulents. That and a friend who can reel off every name in latin. I’m lucky if I can remember their English euiv – such as white ghost

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A gecko, what a great idea! 🙂

        They are just so beautiful. Oh wow, fantastic t have some so knowledgeable! I’d have no hope with Latin names, I’m like you, lol. I don’t even know the English name of a few of my plants – most of them are edible though which makes it easier! 🙂


          1. I’ve found this fantastic website, Mosaic Art Supply, that has so much information on so many aspects of mosaics.

            I was just reading about an outdoor substrate that can be easily cut to shape, but the name’s escaped me now. I’ll find it and get back to you. Apparently ‘thin-set’ is needed to adhere the tiles for outdoor mosaics too. It all sounds so foreign to me, but I’m keen to be brave and try and outdoor project myself 🙂
            So much to learn!


  6. Your future lemon tree pot is beautiful and so is the yellow cactus flower.
    Baking soda is bicarbonate of soda and Castile soap is soap made with olive oil or other vegetable oils. You could probably use glycerin soap as a substitute.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That pot cover looks incredible! I would try that myself, but I think with my lack of woodwork skills, the pot would look better without it!
    And that’s a gorgeous flower on the cactus – how tall is it at the moment?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pot cover is REALLY easy to make. I did ask OH to take photos of each process but he refused. I’ll get him to draw a diagram.

      The cacti is still only a baby. I think it’s about 6inches high. It’s got a lot of growing to do!


  8. Very impressed by your OH, where did you get him, are there any others? 😀 The beer traps work quite well in my garden, I was really interested that it was the yeast they are attracted to. I wonder if marmite would work? I am not sure if that is a joke or not. Love the cactus flower!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Your OH is very talented. That pot cover looks great. I use basics lager for the slug traps. Works well, though once I only had Budweiser left and they definitely preferred that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the pot cover/surround. I’m partial to the au naturel look to be honest. Smashing job, by the way. I only wish my carpentry skills were up to this level!

    I am busy growing lemon trees and bitter orange trees and have numerous seedlings in various stages of growth.
    I haven’t decided what to do with them once they are ready for planting.
    Several are already up to 30 cm.
    Maybe the neighbours might like one or two?
    All the pips were taken from our own fruit.
    If we were neighbours you would be most welcome to ”raid my shed”.

    I have the flowering cactus featured but never bothered to find out its proper name. No I have it, thanks to you!

    ….the beer I had used was in actual fact lager.

    *Smile* Superbok just won’t cut it, Piglet! It has to be Watney’s pale ale or something equally as insipid. But don’t you dare waste Guinness or Boddingtons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ark.OH will be pleased by the positive feedback. 😉

      I’d love to raid your shed and also meet your spider.

      Yep, if the lugs aren’t interested in superboc hate to think what’s in it beside chemicals. Hey, would guiness do the same job?


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